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PostPosted: November 8th, 2022, 2:16 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I was fast becoming a hermit before Covid. I’m not out of my shell yet, and not sure I want to be. But every once in a while a shop day with friends is the perfect introvert tonic.

Joel arrived first, to pick up the finished Loon. Not actually pick up; post motorcycle accident his right arm still doesn’t work well if lifted above his head. We needed someone tall and strong, and easily convinced to help whitewash a fence. Steve was also heading to the shop.

Steve arrived from Maine, and with his considerable assistance we got the Loon on the racks via the aero bar modified Yakima rollers & Thule saddles. The addition of a strapped down center cover allowed us to rack the Loon upright.

ImagePB030008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


ImagePB030007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePB030009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

With Hully Rollers at the back, adapted to fit the Transit’s aftermarket aero bars, and HydroGlide saddles adapted up front for sliding the upright hull into position forward, getting the Loon roof racked was as easy as it’s going to get on the high Transit roof. Even so having tall Steve was a big help.

Eh, a loop of rope around the stern to gently lower the bow into position would still be helpful. Just sayin’.

Steve was an absolute joy, no wonder Joel speaks so highly of his company. I had met him too briefly a year ago, and having him in the shop was pure pleasure. Not just for the tasks completed, including dual license tag bolt tie downs on the Transit for the two racked boats.

ImagePB030010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Or the minor adjustment and improvements made to Steve’s Thule racks.

ImagePB030011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Joel may not be able to do much that requires use of both arms, but from decades of selling and installing various racks, and helping friends with theirs, he is a wizard with roof racks and adaptation ideas.

Admittedly we were puzzled for a spell trying to determine if the racks required a hex key or a Torx, and what size; the adjustment fitting is tiny, and set deep inside a plastic sleeve. Until, lookee there, a handle knobbed hex tool, stored inside the Thule foot covers. In two of the foot covers in fact, batting .000 just not the two on which we started the initial adjustments.

Nice touch Thule; I’ll remind Joel next time. And Steve. Maybe especially Steve, who originally installed the racks with the manual in hand.

We needed to make those roof rack adjustments to Steve’s van because had expressed an interest in a big boy decked sailing hull. I dressed up the Pamlico 160 up with a sail, partial spray covers and a stern deck bag. And a peculiar custom paddle.

ImagePB020006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Steve looked pretty in pink paddling. Note that, to kill any hint of a breeze when putting up a sail, the boat need not actually be on the water. You are luffing there Steve.

There followed some hours of sterling shop conversation; both Joel and Steve work(ed) as guides, and guides tend to be wonderful conversationalists, with a empathy tuned to human dynamics from subtly sensing client’s needs and desires.

I think that sensitivity carries over beyond clients, although their cash tips from me have been few and far between. Steve insisted on paying more than I asked for the P-160, so I guess that is another hull that comes with a lifetime guarantee. I’d love to have them both back in the shop anytime.

Too soon the Loon headed up the driveway.

ImagePB030015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Followed closely by the P-160

ImagePB030016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

All of the boats got red flags with prismatic reflective tape. Joel and I have both noted that the winky blinky of the reflective tape in car headlights at night keeps people from riding our bumpers. Blessed is the red flag with reflective tape; I detest tailgaters, especially glaring headlights in the mirrors at night.

Shop visitors departed, I was

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_P-v1BVQn8

But not for long. Tom and Finn stopped by the next day, en route back from paddling the Conowingo Pool. Tom described his route in great detail, even after I gave him a map and mentioned that I had done that same route just two days before. Finn laid on the shop floor drooling. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Tom soon headed out, with a box of needed Torx bits, and a suggestion that he lighten his poling canoe, a Vermont-era glass Explorer, by taking out two of the three seats I had originally installed for use as a family canoe. He only ever uses the bow seat backwards, and that rarely when poling.

That should read “FINALLY lighten his poling canoe”; I’ve been after him for 10 poling use years to remove those superfluous seats, the largest unoccluded area in his poling Explorer is less than 2’ long between seats and thwarts, but that task would require 20 minutes work with a screwdriver and socket wrench.

Tom wants a Millbrook Coho. When he finally gets one I’ll help offset the cost and offer him $100 for that now worn out freebie glass Explorer. Another once-mine canoe could return to the shop decade’s later, and retro benefit from accumulated outfitting experience.


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2023, 7:39 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Shop visitors are always interesting. The Gorton’s Fisherman paid a shop visit.

ImageP3110030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Or maybe that was Papa Hemmingway. He brought some high-test beers, and actually did a wee bit of work for a change.

ImageP3110031 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

New underhood tie downs for the two canoes that live full time on his boat-toter truck. He wanted to ropes well away from the hood of his new truck, so I made the webbing straps extra long.

ImageP3110033 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The refurbished “Lady Jane” Explorer is there in the background. Cap’t Gorton will be coming back to fetch it as his scapey shallows poling canoe. I told the Cap’t he was my acid test, beat her up, my repairs can handle it.

He was fine that that shop guarantee. He was fine with the red pigmented G/flex and glitter foot pad. Until I explained that there were some mutual friend’s cremains thickening those worn footbeds.

“I’m not standing on Brian” he cried. “You’ll be standing on the shoulders of giants” I replied.

“Well, since you put it that way”

Captain Hemmingway has promised to return to fetch Lady Jane. It will not be “Lady Jane” when he departs; despite my telling him that the Lady Jane was “an arctic explored vessel lost in the ice in 1899” he has sworn to rename her.

Hmmm, I have a lot of vinyl letters left. Maybe I should re-moniker the poling Explorer before the Captain returns. I bet I have enough 2” vinyl letters to spell out “SWMBO”.


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2023, 10:42 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Amidst some recent boatwork Tom and Finn paid another shop visit and all progress halted. Or moved backwards if you count the next morning’s post-visit shop clean up time. How is it we do zero work when Tom visits and the bench still becomes crazy cluttered?

Now that he has seen Joel’s canoe Tom wants his Voyager refurbished. He is dithering about doing it – I’ll help a little - the recommended more UV protective way, tipping and rolling two coats of quality topside paint (the Voyager lives on Tom’s truck year-round), or doing a lesser, easier (and cheaper way), simply rolling and tipping a couple coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane to bring back the shine and add a little UV protection.

I made it clear that Tom needs to wet sand the canoe before it arrives and buy the materials needed. Other than the shop foreman supplies this will be the first boat repair money Tom has ever spent.

And his boats show it; Tom once notoriously replaced a broken seat hanger machine screw with a steel hex head bolt he found rusting in the street. He left the hex head protruding from the gunwale and after repeatedly sliding the glass Explorer on and off his wood crossbars it gouged out an ever deepening crevice in the wood. I was waiting for that decayed wood crossbar to snap at the weak point.

ImageP1230023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That, perhaps thankfully, is the only boatwork Tom has ever done on his own.

This time I want him to show up with everything needed; to that end, Tom’s Voyager rehab materials list:

If clear coated, a can of Helmsman Spar Urethane
If painted, a quart of his color choice EZ-poxy, enough for two coats. I suggested “Fighting Lady Yellow”, but I also (briefly) named one of his canoes “Lady Jane”.

ImageP2120004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

He was profusely, and profanely disgruntled with that moniker, so the name was anagrammed to become LA DE DA and LADEN BADLY

ImageP4200020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP4200019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If painted and left atop Tom’s truck year-round NOT red, or other colors that fast fade in sun exposure.
If painted a can of EZ-Poxy 3021 Performance Enhancer. Worth the extra $3 per coat.

In either case, paint or spar urethane:
Denatured alcohol for post-wet sanding wipe downs.
IPA alcohol for the shop foreman.
320-ish wet sandpaper for the initial sanding, to be done before the canoe arrives.
600 wet sand paper for between coats, anything harsher removes too much paint.
4” foam rollers and pan.
2” foam brushes to tip out
Painter’s tape for the gunwales, 2” wide so one strip of tape will cover the aluminum outwale.
Acetone for the inevitable Tom shop floor spills
More IPA alcohol for the shop foreman when he sees Tom’s spills
Paint pen for the Shop Foreman to write “Tom ->” and “Tom again ->” on the floor next to any spills.

The previous accumulation of Tom spills and Sharpied arrow-pointing accusations have all sadly worn away, although the now unauthored paint spills and epoxy drips remain. Tom spotted some stepped-on Burgundy smears on the shop floor and leapt into action. Well, not leapt as much as crawled.

ImageP7010005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Not the first time I’ve seen Tom on his hands and knees, although it usually takes a few more beers. Unending Mojitos dispensed from an icey 5-gallon jug will do it as well; we found him hopelessly tangled in greenbriars and surly about his predicament.

Tom used an enamel paint pen this time to finger the culprit more lastingly.

ImageP7020018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom brought me treasures, meaning stuff he was too lazy to take to the dump himself. Three crossbar Quick and Easy racks I made for his van decades ago for multi-canoe shuttles. This is what happens to wood crossbars if you leave them on your van for 20 years and never revarnish them.

ImageP7020014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Q&E towers might be worth saving, the still unrusted SS eye bolts certainly are. There is a mix of stainless and non-stainless from eye bolts to washers to nuts. Rusty non-stainless in different sizes, with various size, not-this-socket, not-that-socket nuts. I would like to blame Tom for that rusty nightmare, but I made the damn things for him as a 3-canoe van rack, apparently from whatever hardware I had on hand in the shop.

The SS eye bolts, exposed for 20 years and still unrusty, were worth saving. That is good stainless.

ImageP7050002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

None of the Q&E towers were worth salvaging, the tightening levers had long ago frozen in place. If only Tom had bought a half dozen new levers 10 years ago.

ImageP7050003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If only Tom had bothered to install those new levers.

Comeuppance is mine sayeth Tom, even if it takes 20 years; I’m sure he anticipated I am too Scots cheap not to try to salvage what I could. Which, after a half day’s labor and PB Blasering the rust, amounted to removing seven high quality SS eye bolts and two of the six defunct Q&E Towers. The other four towers, even soaked in PB Blaster, are rusted beyond any hope of removal, and with the disappearance of rain gutters they are of little use to anyone anyway.

I’m always happy to see Finn, a West Virginia Porch Hound mix.

ImageP7010004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Finn has become as grey, lame and lazy as his owner, but at least he still has all his hair and doesn’t make a mess in the shop. To Finn’s credit he talks less, and drinks less than Tom, and appreciates the finer things, like his custom drainage channel exercise foam mat in the canoe on rainy day trips.

ImageIMG_3103 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

https://myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=49638

I should (again) demonstrate how to slide that drainage channeled pad fully forward so it wedges under the seat trusses, for dry paws. And ask Finn if he would like a minicel chin rest.


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2023, 12:33 pm 
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Location: Warkworth
Always enjoy your posts Mike. I glue padding in my boats for my dogs...I find it keeps them from sliding around in rapids.

_________________
"It's healthy to be dirty" - Lars Monsen


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2023, 2:21 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Sam82 wrote:
I glue padding in my boats for my dogs...I find it keeps them from sliding around in rapids.


Tom has too many canoes – just ask his wife – to glue dog pads in each one.

Or maybe not. His always roof racked canoes are still the Kevar Voyager reservoir screamer, and the fiberglass Lucky Charms river poling canoe. A custom shaped exercise flooring pad could easily be made for the skinny Voyager, fitted to match Finn’s preferred rest spot within the hull.

Tom always has a dog companion along, and pads glued in place in his two primary canoes would be a boon; one less thing to remember to bring, one less thing to diddle with launching or landing.

Thanks, I’ll add a pack of exercise flooring squares to Tom’s parts list.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0716 ... UTF8&psc=1

I look forward to watching him try to calculate a custom-tapered isosceles trapezoid shape using a theodolite, GPS and surveyor’s tape. That’ll be an afternoon I’ll never get back. And I’m oddly looking forward to it; I hope he brings beer, I’ll need it.

Waiting for G/flex to cure, another tale of shop visitors, this one not disparaging Tom for a change.

Dave H was in the shop “working” with me. Dave’s assistance consisted entirely of sitting at my desk with his feet propped up, smoking my cigars, and sipping from the remains of a bottle of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey I kept in the shop for medicinal purposes.

Dave H, a self-proclaimed expert on an unbelievable variety of topics, accent on the “un”, would take a pull at the bottle, lean his head back, smack his lips and intone “Ah, that’s good stuff”. Finishing the last of the Dew he commented about my failing to supply proper refreshments to my guests.

I went out in the yard, picked a clover leaf and dropped it semi-crumpled inside the now empty bottle of Tullamore Dew. Holding it up to the light for inspection I remarked “Eh, no luck Dave, just a three leaf cover”, explaining that “There is a clover leaf in every bottle of Tullamore Dew, and something like one in fifty has a four leaf clover.”

Of course, Dave H, being Dave H, peering at the crumpled cover leaf, was already knew that.

“Wait Dave, I think I have another bottle in the liquor cabinet”.

I did not. What I had was a bottle of Cabin Still, cheap rot gut sour mash bourbon. I picked a fresh, uncrumpled clover leaf, refilled the Tullamore Dew empty, walked into the shop, pretended to open it, took a swig and passed the bottle to Dave H.

He tilted it back, took a long draught and, pausing to count the virgin clover leaves just in case, sighed to the heavens “Ah, that’s good stuff”.

Cabin Still Sour Mash was as nasty as I remembered, probably why I had a full bottle and took only that one sip. Dave H found it still lip-smacking good, so good he spent the night. He did not look well the next morning. He may have swallowed the clover leaf

I never did tell him, but still occasionally take a nip at something and declare “Ah, that’s good stuff”.


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2023, 11:02 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
For a self-proclaimed hermit I seem to have plenty of shop visitors, some unexpected; I didn’t know Tom was coming, or even that he was here until I heard him yelling at his dogs in the backyard. Tom’s stated rational for stopping by (I wrote it down), “I had nothing better to do with my life, so I thought I’d visit McCrea”.

Not sure whether to be honored or insulted. Fortunately, he brought my new favorite dog, Bodie the snugglebug pit bull. I had set aside a plush carpet for such special visitor’s shop comfort.

ImageP7230006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Love the unmatched ears. It is all I can do not to grab a Sharpie and turn him into Petey.

https://willynwoodamstaff.com/petey-our-gang-dog

Such a good boy, sleeping peacefully, trustingly, not twitch dreaming about his previous life running loose up the middle of the street in the ghetto, dragging a chain around his neck. You are one lucky pup Bodie.

ImageP7230007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

As usual Tom brought beers. Tom is good for something. Not something good; Tom’s preferred quaff is Duckpin Ale. I believe the brewery is on the banks of Baltimore’s Back River. By taste I’d say not far from the municipal sewage treatment plant.

ImageP7230008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I felt sorry for Tom’s long suffering taste buds and plied him with some better stuff; Golden Monkey Belgian-style triple ale, hoping the 9.5% ABV would slow him down a bit. It didn’t.

Tom did not bring the Voyager, despite having a rare void on his two-canoe roof racks. He did again bemoan having purchased two new composite Northstars, which now sit unused in his back yard because he prefers his Lucky Charms Explorer and Wenonah Voyager.

ImageP7230011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I asked why he didn’t bring the Voyager. “Uh, I haven’t bought the materials yet”.

“Tom, you can get everything on the list I sent you at Home Depot”.

“I don’t like Home Despot”. He had another alternative name, not Home Creepo but something worse. Home Cesspot? I should have written it down; Tom has an imaginative vocabulary, and apparently strong retailer feelings.

“OK, Lowes”. Same answer. “OK, Walmart”. Same answer. I did not understand his reticence until Tom said “How about I just use your stuff?”. Then it was my turn to say no.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6-cCh9bTG4

If you can spend 7K on two rack Queens you can spend $100 on materials. FWIW Tom let slip some hints that, familiar with my disparagements, he occasionally reads this board.

Ace Hardware, True Value, Menards, whatever; I have a couple summer shop project canoes that may show up soon. We can do what needs done to refurbish the Voyager in an afternoon. But we can’t do it without the materials.

Tom, if you are reading this, let me know a day or two before you arrive with everything on the list. I’ll need to prep the shop, and clear off the infamous “Little Boy’s Bench” as your designated workspace.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2023, 7:17 am 
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Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
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Location: North Florida
Ace > Home Depot > Lowes


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2023, 11:37 am 
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Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
woodpuppy wrote:
Ace > Home Depot > Lowes


I am admittedly not a fan of BigBox hardware stores myself, mostly for the staff’s lack of knowledge.

“In which aisle I will I find X” is often a waste of time. The most common answer involves someone who doesn’t know X from Y spending five minutes scrolling the app on their phone holding me captive. And, yeah, no, it wasn’t in that aisle.

I much prefer independently owned Aces and True Values, in part because the staff usually knows their stuff. Sometimes they do when I don’t, “I’m looking for something shaped like this” (drawing a sketch) “I want to adapt it for (explanation) this other purpose”. Really hard to find the answer to that question on a phone app.

For 30 years I have had an awesome farm country True Valve just across the Pennsylvania Line where I do our other every other week one-trip/five places shopping. The kind of country hardware that stocks a dozen lengths and styles of axe handles, an item I want to see and feel and inspect the grain before I buy.

Shovel, rake, hatchet handle? Take your pick. The kind of place that has a true lumberyard, a separate acre of building with six semi-trailer length pull-through bays.

And, most dear to my heart, the kind of farm country place with an entire 30’ long aisle of stainless steel in every length, size and shape imaginable. Not little pull-out trays with ten of each, but bins of loose stainless with full boxes stored behind. Honor system for the binned loose stuff, write the quantity and cost each on a bag. Really good quality stainless, none has every rusted even a spec. 316 maybe.

FWIW, all from Midwest Fastener Corp. Kalamazoo MI; no where on the box does it read “Made in China”.
https://www.fastenerconnection.com/

I have spent a lot of money over the years in that aisle; 10/24 machine screws in lengths up to 6”? I’m getting low, gimme a box. Flat washers, lock washers, nuts, cap nuts? Gimme a box. Weirdo SS stuff, need four? Never know about next time, buy 12. I roughly calculated that the three boxes of stainless in the shop, accumulated over decades, are worth at least $1000.

Or, now, $1100. I overheard a table of old guys (my age) in the diner discussing that True Value closing, with a 30% off sale. I knew my next stop.

Parts of the store were barren, picked clean to empty shelves, but the precious SS aisle was not yet fully denuded, still maybe half full. Some in boxes, some loose binned. Zero SS flat washers left, but I got two boxes of 10/24 machine screws in different lengths, a box of cap nuts, and 20 this and 30 that of other SS screws and fasteners.

I didn’t need any of it right now, but when I do need it the nearest quality SS selection is an hour away. Which almost guarantees the next four pieces of SS I need to finish a rebuild will be oddball sizes absent from shop stock.

The writing was on the wall when a Home Depot and later a Tractor Supply opened within sight a half-mile away.

Good bye old friend, where the staff knew me on sight, I’ll miss you. But not just yet; I’ll be back tomorrow. The stove pipes on our wood stove are rusty ugly and I espied a few shiny elbows and straights still there, back near the axe handles. Hope there are enough pieces left.

Gonna be really hard not to buy an axe handle I don’t need.


Last edited by Mike McCrea on July 26th, 2023, 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2023, 12:11 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Oops, deleted.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2023, 2:19 pm 
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Location: North Florida
I feel you Mike. The big box stores just don’t cut it, and either their employees or angry customers delight in jumbling the loose box inventory.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2023, 10:53 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
woodpuppy wrote:
The big box stores just don’t cut it, and either their employees or angry customers delight in jumbling the loose box inventory.


My beloved country True Value suffered from that loose bin jumble, more so than usual during the close-out sale. I don’t think it is so much angry staff or customers as inconsiderate shoppers who grab the wrong item from one bin and toss it back in another.

When buying binned hardware I made sure to verify that everything was matching, and then check my chosen handful with a magnet. The Midwest stainless has zero magnetic attraction, even with a powerful ceramic magnet. Sure enough, 20 pieces, 19 stainless, one “clink” plain steel. I refused to put the steel back in with the stainless, but I also refused to search out the correct bin; I put it on top of the bin shelving, where there were always “Nope, wrong size” other bits and pieces.

All the more reason that, if I needed 20 of something buying a box of 50 was easier.

I have been lucky with my stainless steel needs. There was an old-timey independent fastener company in the downtown area not far from where I worked. Leonard Jed Fasteners, located in a decrepit building in a once-industrial now not-so-good part of town, staffed by a collection of grumpy old sales guys who were accustomed to picking wholesale boxes of SS off the cavernous and un-labled dusty shelves for industrial or contractor uses. They would sell not-worth-their-time small quantities, but the codgers on the floor didn’t much like it.

Leonard Jed closed years ago, but when I would go in with a stainless list of “8 five inch, 8 six inch machine screws” (holding up an example), “20 washers and lock washers, 12 cap nuts, 12 this, 10 of this and 20 that” they would semi-grudging walk the dusty aisles to pick it out individually as I followed along. There was no apparent organization system, they just knew where things were. Fastenal it was not.

The best part was when I got up to the check-out counter where the ancient, always annoyed Jed brothers held crotchety court. They would invariably start totaling up my 8 of these at X, 10 of these at Y, 20 and 12 of these, 20 of those - by hand on a scrap of paper - look increasingly beleaguered and give up, saying “How about $12 for the lot?”

$12 for all the stainless I can carry? Granted that was the early ‘80’s but still, deal. I no longer drop canoe seats that deep, so I have a lot of long Leonard Jed stainless steel machine screws.


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PostPosted: August 14th, 2023, 1:28 pm 
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Despite having an already canoe crowded shop I didn’t want to keep Tom waiting. He has begun to read this board and my descriptions of his foibles, and Tom is a constant source of entertainment. If nothing else, it promised to be a memorable shop day.

He was eager to get his Voyager back on the water after the week it somehow took to wet sand it, and two additional weeks it somehow took to buy the materials, Tom proposed showing up at 9am. I suggested 10am so I had time to move boats around and prep the shop.

10:30 is closer to Tom-time than usual. To set the day’s supervisory tone I met him at the shop door holding a wall clock.

ImageP8130025 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

We brought the Voyager into the shop. Er, Tom did; I offered to help but he was already surly. Maybe it was the clock thing.

Part of the rational for using a clear coat instead of paint was to preserve not only the golden yellow of the Kevlar, but also to leave intact the custom Duckhead stickers.

ImageP8110004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom had done a superb wet sanding job. OK, that’s one in the plus column for Tom.

We had discussed first rolling and tipping a coat of West 105/207. The votes against; a professional rebuilder says that if the hull is in good shape he will lay an epoxy coat first only if customers insist, but he feels it is often unnecessary. Other votes against, a coat of epoxy would mean another week’s wait time for cure and I need some shop space back; the Helmsman can be sanded the next day.

Clear coat also precluded Tom’s plan to paint scheme of a sheerline band in Maryland Flag colors and design.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/flag-of-Maryland

Tom is a talented if too infrequent artist, I have some of his work hanging in my shop office. I kinda want to see that slanted checkerboard and Calvert counterchanged cross botonée. Maybe on the next canoe.

Scorning the Little Boys Bench I had cleared for him Tom disgorged his constituent parts and pieces elsewhere, including the needed materials that somehow needed weeks to acquire, selected from a (I thought) detailed and specific list.

ImageP8110008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP8110010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

As we laid those materials out to begin prepping the Voyager I noticed that the can of Helmsman Spar Urethane looked odd.

ImageP8110007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That was because Tom bought water-based Helmsman Urethane, not oil based. I am only painting his canoe once; this isn’t the time to experiment with water-based urethane only to discover that the Voyager leaves a sheen floating in its wake. I told Tom that alcohol wiping, gunwale taping and rolling/tipping out should only take two hours (wrong again), go get the right stuff, we are doing this today dammit!

Tom left to drive to the nearest Home Depot. Which is across the line in Pennsylvania. His day, to say nothing of mine, kept getting longer and longer. He called from PA; Home Despot had no Helmsman Spar Urethane. His next stop was a Pennsylvania WalMart, just up the road a piece from the hardware store.

Nope, not there either. Tom’s next stop was an Ace hardware 20 miles south in the other direction. Ace had two cans of oil-based Helmsman; at that point, having thus far driven 40 miles hither and yon, Tom bought them both. A mere 60 mile round-round trip later and we were ready to start work on the Voyager. At 1:00.

While Tom was gone I looked through the other materials he purchased. Something I should have done before he left. On his list “91% isopropyl alcohol, available at Walmart”. He brought an old (dusty) can of Kleen-Strip Denatured Alcohol instead. Kleen-Strip is 40-to-60% methanol.

https://korellis.com/wp-content/uploads ... atured.pdf

I have learned that denatured alcohol, especially those heavy on toxic additives like methanol, is unnecessary for most boatwork. I have plenty of 91% isopropyl. Time for Tom to finish alcohol cleaning the Voyager, under “You missed a spot” supervision. Well, I used to have plenty of 91% isopropyl.

ImageP8110011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The rags and paper towels on Tom’s list for alcohol wiping and general cleaning? Nope, back to shop stock. Tom followed instructions for a change, alcohol cleaning the hull first, the outwales last, so as not to smear pop rivet and gunwale crevice contaminates onto the Kevlar surface. Tom had wet sanded and washed the Voyager before it got here; the black gunk is from the outwale edge.

ImageP8120013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom owes me six paper towels. And counting. Yes, I am keeping track.

ImageP8120014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The (Lowes) foam brushes he bought were as soft and smooth as a Brillo pad. I once bought a batch of similar foam brushes from Amazon. Absolutely freaking not, I want it to look smoother after tipping out, not streakier. I had softer, better quality foam brushes; I guess we are using my stuff after all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6-cCh9bTG4

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes yes yes.

On his materials list, 4” roller pan, sleeve and roller handle. My bad, that was not specific enough.

ImageP8110009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

What the hell is that? Those actually, Tom bought three. I have never considered a pan that deep and stubby, and have no experience keeping a just-right wet roller sleeve with such a midget. I have the longer, shallower style 4” roller pans I am accustomed to using. Note also that the roller sleeve is of the thick, fuzzy sort, not foam. Also a nope; my pan, my sleeves. Yes, yes, yes.

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/15a0fd3d-7 ... d05accaa4e

Lesson learned, if I ask someone to provide their own materials, I am also asking to accompany them to the hardware store when they go to buy the stuff.

Tom returned, more curmudgeonly than usual, from his tour of southern PA and an Ace Hardware in northern Baltimore County, some two hours later and declared that he needed a beer. All work stopped. Not that much work had begun.

Eventually we got back to work. I taped the outwale on one side, explaining that the curvature of the sheerline meant that the tape first wants to creep below the outwale edge and then, after midships, begin the reverse, creeping higher up onto the hull. Minor tape adjustments are needed as the curvature increases.

Taping is a learned technique, it took minutes for me to tape my umpteenth outwale. Tom, despite many intonations and exclamations of the WTF variety, was somewhat slower. Talking to the tape doesn’t work Tom, you need to carefully manipulate it into curving.

ImageP8120015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

He even carefully taped over the HIN plate; a nice touch with paint, maybe not as necessary with urethane.

ImageP8120018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom appreciated the wheeled shop chair for that eye level taping task and, though still somewhat peeved from his travails, he delighted in the ease of rolling along at ease.

ImageP8120016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Outwale and deck plate taping done I rolled and tipped one side with Helmsman, demo explaining rolling short sections from keel line to gunwale before moving a step further down the hull and rolling another piece, pulling the cart alongside and later keeping a wet edge on the tip out brush, one overlapping streak at a time.

The most challenging part of tipping out is again the curved nature of a canoe. The distance from gunwale to center line at the stems may be 18”, but the distance from gunwale to keel line in the center more like 27”. It is a (), and it is impossible to tip out straight lines on a ().

With one side rolled and tipped, I gave the paint cart to Tom to do the other side.

ImageP8120017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I watched Tom’s efforts briefly, before abandoning my supervisory role and retreating to my office where, oddly enough, I could not hear his testy tipping invective.

ImageP8130026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rrx2f6sza0

Tom eventually finished rolling and tipping his side, leaving only a few holidays just below the outwale at the chine bubble, a tricky area to roll, necessitating vertical strokes instead of horizontal.

Fully rolled and tipped it was time to pull the outwale tape before it became urethane stuck. Rolling and tipping did not necessitate gloves, but gloves would be handy for pulling 18’ of still urethane-wet tape from each outwale.

On Tom’s list, “Disposable gloves”. Take a guess, did Tom bring disposable gloves? I thought about letting him recreate a Rolling Stone’s 1971 hit, but he was already having a tough day, so yes, yes, yes, I provided some. Add two purple nitriles to the list.

Rolling and tipping the first coat was done, and a process that typically takes two hours required six.

There was a shop denouement shortly after Tom departed, one that, having been mildly abused for an afternoon, I know he would have appreciated. I had four canoes on sawhorses in the shop; the max is really three, two is better, so there wasn’t much walk-around room.

I went out later that night to put things away and see how the Voyager looked. There was just enough space between boats to clip one sawhorse leg with my foot, and break my fall on the concrete floor with my left knee.

Not just that, but on the way down I managed to smack my elbow on the sawhorse crossbar and punch myself in the nose. My scabby bloody knee still hurts - knees and elbows are a horrible places for road rash - and wearing glasses hurts almost as much.

Even without being there to witness that Help I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get up action in person Tom found it the best part of his day, and mentioned something about chalk outlining my body on the shop floor.

The Voyager looked 100% better, shinier, glossier and more UV protected with just a single coat of Helmsman. The second coat, from wet sanding to taping to rolling & tipping will be all Tom. I can’t wait to see what he does with that deep-dish pan and a fuzzy sleeve, tipping out with a Brillo-pad foam brush. In the backyard. While the oak catkins are falling and the dogs are running about.

I really don’t want to see that. Same deal Tom; wet sand it and bring it back up to the shop. We’ll see if we can break your current 6-hour record for taping, rolling and tipping. Bring the correct Helmsman, 91% alcohol, proper pan, roller sleeves and foam brushes, disposable gloves, etc.

Try the Home Depot just across the State line.


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PostPosted: September 9th, 2023, 3:04 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
It is always a pleasure to have my best shop partner come by to work on a canoe. Joel brought his (Kathy’s actually) Kevlar Wenonah Sundowner up for skid plates. We did the usual tag team on the Sundowner, I prepped materials and Joel did the actual work.

18 feet of social distancing water rocket.

ImageP9060010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Sundowner has sharp stems, so Dynel sleeve was the choice of skid plate material, 15 x 1 ½” pieces of sleeve for each stem, counting the epoxy maybe an ounce per stem. Joel did the cleaning and taping.

ImageP9060009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Per Joel’s usual preference I mixed the epoxy, straight West System 105/207 with black pigment. Oopsie # 1, the base coat on the hull needs no pigment, it is easier to see that the fabric is laid perfectly aligned in the tape box if not already opaquely covered with black epoxy. Despite that miscue the Dynel orientation looked good.

ImageP9060015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Oopsie #2, the guy who mixed the epoxy made half again too much. Oopsie #3, he had nothing prepared to accept the excess, so we (Joel) just kept laying more epoxy. For saturating both layers of Dynel sleeve too much is better than too little; the excess that doesn’t penetrate the sleeve just drips down the paper mask.

The usual half-hour/45 minute wait time for the Sharpie marked drips to stop running, pull the paper and tape, cover with release treated peel ply and have at it every 15 minutes with the hard roller and a tongue depressor to push down the edge of the sleeve to form a bezel.

ImageP9070016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

With that gift of incremental wait time we tackled repairs to a paddle. Not just any paddle, but a family heirloom. His parents had purchased Old Town (Shaw & Tenney) paddles 40 (now 50?) years ago; three boys plus parents, five paddles. IIRC all or most of them were S&T Grand Lake Stream models.

https://www.shawandtenney.com/engravabl ... ake-stream

The varnish was gone, the blades were nicked and dinged and the decades of memories deserved our best efforts. Sanded baby butt smooth, blades repaired and carefully edged with carbon fiber tow, stained in different colors, with multiple coats of varnish except for the grips, which were oiled (multiple coats again). A true labor of love.

The difference in grain patterns, different woods, was quickly apparent.

ImageP1092525 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Several of the paddles had striking grain once sanded and stained. One however was just bland after a coat of Jacobian, and then another coat of Jacobian, still too bland, probably Spruce. I took a shot and stained it with Ebony over the two coats of Jacobian.

Oh baby, not sure that that tint became, Black Cherry if it was a car color, but it sure looked good once varnished.

Shaw and Tenney notes about Spruce “Our lightest and only softwood, spruce is an excellent choice for an all-around, every day paddle and almost all rowing oars. We don’t recommend spruce for whitewater, or for conditions where the paddle or oars comes in contact with rocks and other obstacles”.

That last sentence proved prophetic. Joel lent it to a novice paddler. A “kid” according to Joel, who is of the age where 30-somethings have become kids. A “kid” who threw it ashore onto a rock when landing. Luckily Joel was not there to witness that abuse, part of his pre-trip guide lecture is “If you want to see me really pissed off throw your paddle ashore”.

The repair was a two person job; Joel levered the split in the blade open as far as he dared while I used a miniscule fine tip paintbrush to lay G/flex in the split.

A small amount of (wiped off) epoxy squeezed out of the split when clamped. Perfect.

ImageP9070021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Next day that paddle was good as new. Hard to tell where the split was, probably stronger along that long inadvertent “scarf joint” than anywhere else on the shaft, less than 1/8 of the shaft diameter had separated at some grain runout. Novices throwing paddles ashore is why we still have Mohawk loaners; here ya go, do your worst.

ImageP9070026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The carbon fiber tow blade edging is holding up to nicks and dings well, scraped but still intact.

ImageP9070023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The varnish work on that paddle was so well done that I am hesitant to lay another coat, and it doesn’t really need it yet, but I will re-oil the grip, which I am sure hasn’t seen a lick of oil since 2014.

I could do the same to the other four heirlooms, but Joel’s brothers are practically Gollum “Precious, my Precious” with the paddles those chose. Yeah, I’m looking at you Mark, take those two Grand Lake Streams down off the wall and use them. Ask Joel about the shop’s “Lifetime Guarantee”.

Joel skedaddled before traffic got thick.

ImageP9070018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Best shop partner ever. He has a guide’s sense of when I’ve had enough company and the shop was as clean and organized when he left as it was when he arrived. It was a good and productive day, I could hardly wait to pull the peel ply.

Next mornings peel ply reveal.

ImageP9090007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Dayum! Joel does nice work if you can get him to put the Banjo down.

ImageP2031620 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP5132042 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Nice work provided he is properly supervised and isn’t trying to install four skid plates at once, outside in the Florida heat and blazing sun. With a break for lunch. I do work him like a rented mule in the shop, but only on his boats.

Luckily the skid plate installation came out well. Joel & Kathy want to take the Sundowner to the Eastern shore in a few days. At least the epoxy will have a few days to set up, before getting a thin topcoat of 105/207 and G/flex, this time with both black pigment and graphite powder for slippery toughness.


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PostPosted: September 11th, 2023, 8:48 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Once the Sundowner returns from the eastern shore and the topcoat of graphite-powder epoxy has been applied and fully cured I’d like to retape the skid plates and paint them with black enamel for UV protection. The Sundowner has enjoyed indoor storage nearly all its life, but it is headed to outdoor storage in sunny Florida.

To that UV exposure end we should alcohol remove the sap splotches it acquired in Canada, and give it a coat of ceramic wax.

And maybe other things. Joel would like through hull stem loops, not for lining. He has a plan – Joel always has plans – to tow the Sundowner to distant locales using the motorboat.

I have all the parts and pieces needed to install flanges for composite hull stem loops. ½” conduit box adapters, the aperture ID is actually 5/8” dia, the “neck” 7/16 long” and the flange 1 1/8”dia.

ImageP9090009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A 7/8” hole saw works for those on composite hulls, a spade bit will do just as well on RX or poly boats.

ImageP9090011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

There is room on the Sundowner to drill the holes above the float tanks, but if Joel wants the stem loops closer to the cutwater, running through the (hollow) float tanks for towing purposes, I have some vinyl tubing that sleeves perfectly inside those conduit box adapters.

ImageP9090014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kathy’s call, her canoe. I think every canoe should have stem loops.

The motorboat is another shop project yet unseen, it needs new battery box for the electric motor, one located to center bow so the hull doesn’t rest angled from the weight of the battery.

The bow is sloped and we want the battery box level. The current plan is to take a large slab of 3 ¼” thick minicel and shape the bottom to a leveling angle with a belt sander. The battery box will rest on that minicel wedge, secured with a strap through D-rings on either side.

Of course I haven’t seen the motorboat yet, so that plan is subject to revision.

Thinking Joel may want to try out the repaired paddle on the eastern shore I wanted to get a coat of oil on the grip.

ImageP9070024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Looking awfully dry; it’s been nine years since it was last oiled, now is the time. Looks better and feels better with a refresher coat of oil.


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2023, 1:39 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2824
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Once the Sundowner returns from the eastern shore and the “topcoat of graphite-powder epoxy has been applied and fully cured” (little trickery there) I’d like to retape the skid plates, sand them smooth a final time and paint them with black enamel for UV protection. The Sundowner has enjoyed indoor storage nearly all its life but may now see more use and UV exposure.

To that UV exposure end we should alcohol remove the sap splotches it acquired in Canada. The bird-poop White Pine smears came off easily with 91% isopropyl, but a few left stubborn globules of amber sap. Those will need a squib of alcohol-soaked paper towel and some scraping once softened.

And, eventually, after all the other work is done, give the Sundowder a coat of ceramic wax. I used the spray on/rinse off Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax version on my truck and on a canoe; a single coat, not the lather-rinse-repeat the instructions recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-G190526 ... r=8-7&th=1

I am impressed with how well it still beads water on the truck months later, without any laborious you know . . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fULNUr0rvEc

And maybe some other outfitting touches. Joel would like through hull stem loops, not for lining. He has a plan – Joel always has plans – to tow the Sundowner to distant locales using the motorboat. That type of “boat assisted” paddling trip has become increasingly popular. Get dropped off with a canoe or kayak to explore a distant location, get picked up X-days later. Not a “guided trip”, just an easier big-water trip made easier getting there.

I have all the parts and pieces needed to install flanges for composite hull stem loops. ½” conduit box adapters, the aperture ID is actually 5/8” dia, the “neck” 7/16 long” and the flange 1 1/8” dia.

ImageP9090009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A 7/8” hole saw works for those box adapters on composite hulls, a spade bit will do just as well on RX or poly boats.

ImageP9090011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

There is room on the Sundowner to drill the holes above the float tanks, but if Joel or Kathy wants the stem loops closer to the cutwater, running through the (hollow) float tanks for towing purposes, I have some vinyl tubing that sleeves perfectly inside those conduit box adapters.

ImageP9090014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kathy’s call, her canoe. I think every canoe should have stem loops.

The motorboat is another shop project yet unseen, it needs new battery box for the electric motor, relocated to center bow so the hull doesn’t rest tilted to one side from the weight of the battery when unoccupied.

The bow is sloped, and we want the battery box level. The current plan is to take a large slab of thick minicel and shape the bottom to a leveling angle with a belt sander. The battery box will rest on that minicel wedge, secured with a strap through D-rings on either side. Of course, I haven’t even seen the motorboat yet, so that plan is subject to revision.

Thinking Joel may want to try out the repaired paddle on the eastern shore trip I wanted to get a coat of oil on the grip.

ImageP9070024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That grip looked and felt awfully dry; it’s been nine years since it was last oiled, now is the time. Already looks better and feels better with a single refresher coat of oil.


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